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Rosenborg bid to build on fine start

Having drawn away to Chelsea FC, Rosenborg BK believe they can progress from Group B and have high hopes for Wednesday's visit of in-form rivals FC Schalke 04.

Rosenborg's draw at Chelsea has left them confident about their chances against Schalke
Rosenborg's draw at Chelsea has left them confident about their chances against Schalke ©Getty Images

There is quite a contrast between Rosenborg BK and FC Schalke 04 as they approach their second match in UEFA Champions League Group B on Wednesday.

Contrasting form
While Rosenborg came away from Chelsea FC with an unexpected 1-1 draw on Matchday 1 to continue the qualifiers' fine run of European results, Schalke were beaten 1-0 at home by Valencia CF. However, Schalke go to Norway on the back of an unbeaten start to the Bundesliga season, while Rosenborg lie a disappointing seventh four matches from the end of the Tippeligaen campaign, having lost 4-3 against Fredrikstad FK on Sunday. Unsurprisingly, it is the continental form that Rosenborg coach Knut Tørum is focusing on. "I believe we have gained confidence having performed so well in Europe, and we are really looking forward to this game," Tørum said. "We know we're facing a great challenge. They are well-organised, physically strong, and they try to move quickly in attack, but I think we have a fair chance of winning."

High hopes
Having taken a point from what was expected to be their most troublesome fixture, Tørum is already dreaming of European football after Christmas – something that looked a tall order when the draw was made. "If we can grab a point or three from this game we've got off to a really good start, and we will then have a real chance of reaching either the UEFA Cup or the knockout phase of the Champions League," said Tørum, who could make one change from the team that held Chelsea by replacing forward Yssouf Koné with Steffen Iversen, who scored a hat-trick in the weekend reverse. "Steffen has been sharp lately and did well against Fredrikstad. He has a smart footballing brain, which I think will be important against a well-organised team like Schalke," the coach added.

Winning habit
Friday's 1-0 win against Hertha BSC Berlin was Schalke's third in a row in the Bundesliga since they lost to Valencia, and eight games into the league season they are yet to taste defeat. Defender Christian Pander, midfielder Levan Kobiashvili and forwards Halil Altıntop and Søren Larsen may all be injured, but their coach Mirko Slomka is as bullish as his opposite number. "We've got a lot of confidence, having won and kept a clean sheet in our last three Bundesliga matches," he said. "Having said that, the result against Valencia has put us in a position where we have to start picking up points if we are to reach our goal of finishing second in the group."

Big break
The Gelsenkirchen team's defensive troubles may tempt Slomka to give a senior debut to teenager Benedikt Höwedes, who proved his worth in helping Germany to the UEFA European Under-19 Championship semi-finals in Austria this summer. Slomka said: "He is a strong, intelligent lad who has all the qualities a footballer at this level should have. If I choose to let him have a go, I think he'll prove himself worthy."